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PIKEVILLE — Charles B. Aycock High varsity boys basketball coach Dave Elmore knew it was coming.
Wearing the jersey of Southern Wayne, shooting guard Rakilen Butler, true to the scouting report, would look for a screen to get himself open for a reliable look. Even as a Saint, leaving Butler with a open opportunity wasn’t the best course of action. The failure to fight through that pick carried consequences.
However, as a senior, Butler utilized the transfer route and migrated to to the CBA campus. There, he continued an evolution that began in AAU basketball, where he took on more responsibilities as a point guard. This past season in Pikeville, he further embraced the role and allowed classmate Eli Batts to carry more of the scoring load from the off-guard spot.
It was the act of being a floor general that caught the attention of college recruiters, specifically head coach Jason Johnson at Johnston Community College.
Therefore, during an informal ceremony in Pikeville on Friday, Butler, having already signed a National Letter of Intent, confirmed his intention to attend JCC of the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III ranks.
“I chose JCC based off of the coach,” Butler said. “He grew a relationship with me to begin with, and I felt comfortable there. I know a lot of players that went there before, so it kind of just ran to me.”
Butler chose the Jaguars over interest from Sandhills Community College and Pitt Community College. He also considered attending North Carolina Central and attempting to walk on to the NCAA Division I Eagles.
With Batts the primary facilitator, Butler’s scoring numbers dipped to 6.9 points per game compared to 12 per contest during his junior campaign in Dudley. Yet he still retained his proclivity from distance, making 21 3-point shots for CBA, which finished 9-14 overall and 4-8 in the split 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference. Butler’s primary concern is far from his scoring numbers, but rather other figures used to rate a point guard’s effectiveness, such as turnover ratio.
“My shooting is my strength,” Butler said. “I can go off the dribble and spot up and shoot it. I started driving more this year during the season, and I’ve got to work on it a little bit more doing that.”
The son of Tracy Butler of Goldsboro plans to major in business administration.